Gordon Murray Architects are trying their hand at at an urban commuter.
Usually, Gordon Murray designs expensive supercars, but he is now trying his hand at a teeny little urban autonomous electric car, a quadracycle. That’s a special vehicle designation, weighing less than 450 kg and traveling no faster than 65 km / h (60 MPH). Batteries are heavy, but Gordon Murray Designs cars are very small, so they’ve built “an ultra-lightweight body structure that delivers a compact, streamlined, secure and flexible vehicle while remaining capable of substantial range (100 Km).” Unlike so many American electric cars that keep getting heavier, the quadracycle concept concentrates the mind.
“MOTIV has the potential to transform future mobility. The best way to make any vehicle commercially viable and cost-effective, while delivering first-class efficiency, is to make it as light as it can be while retaining the highest levels of safety. With MOTIV we have used our iStream® technologies to create an ultra-lightweight body structure that delivers a vehicle that is compact, refined, safe and versatile, while remaining capable of significant range.”
It is very small, just over 4 feet wide and 8 feet tall. But as the director of “mobility consultant” ItMoves says, “MOTIV’s design philosophy is focused on three points: small footprint, first-class interior and a city-friendly picture. The small scale benefits from the fact that most people drive and travel about on their own.
That’s kind of the approach that Google / Waymo originally took while developing their cute little Firefly, a tiny vehicle specifically built for autonomy. Converting existing car designs, as Gordon Murray says, “has obvious drawbacks – modern vehicles are comparatively huge, bulky and inefficient.”
It has a 17.3kWh liquid-cooled battery that can charge up to 80 percent in 40 minutes, and a 20kW engine (which is unusual because the quadracycle limit is 15kW), so it does 0 to 60 km in 7.5 seconds, which is around a quarter of what the Hummer EV can do.
It’s all built for protection, compliance with M1 car requirements in crash tests, and minimum weight, but the windows look odd, so small, I wonder if it wouldn’t be claustrophobic indoors. Then do teeny windows on a teeny car like this?
Gordon Murray Designs plans to produce slightly bigger models, so these will handle wheelchairs. This is an innovative concept that might take advantage of less resources to transfer more people.